”No British cellist has done more to advocate British composers than Raphael Wallfisch… throughout all three works, Wallfisch’s playing evinces that attention to detail, tonal finesse and understated conviction which has long made him an exponent of new and unfamiliar music…” International Record Review
Raphael Wallfisch was born in London into a family of distinguished musicians, his mother the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, and his father the pianist Peter Wallfisch. At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers, including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life’s work.
While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky in California (Thornton School of Music), he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetz in the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home. At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Florence. Since then he has enjoyed a world-wide career playing with such orchestras as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Symphony, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and many others.
He is regularly invited to play at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Spoleto, Prades, Oslo and Schleswig Holstein. His recent collaboration with the Royal Ballet in ‘Elizabeth’ a new ballet choreographed by Will Tuckett, librettist Alasdair Middleton, composer Martin Yate and dancers, Carolos Acosta and Zenaida Yanowsky received wide critical acclaim and will return to the stage in 2018. Recent performances included concerti with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Swan, Osnabruecker Symfonieorchester, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchester, Slovac Philharmonic Orchestra. Raphael performs widely as both recitalist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Israel and Canada including at the Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Buxton Festival, Kings Lynn Festival, Walter Hall Toronto, Wimbledon Festival and Hampstead Festival.
Teaching is one of Raphael Wallfisch’s passions and he teaches masterclasses all over the world. Raphael holds professorships in Switzerland at the Zürich Winterthur Konservatorium and in Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music.
With a discography of over 70 discs Raphael Wallfisch is one of the most recorded classical artists in the world. His extensive recordings with EMI, Chandos, Black Box, ASV, Naxos and Nimbus include concertante works by Dohnanyi, Respighi, Barber, Hindemith and Martinu, as well as Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian and a wide range of British cello concertos, including works by MacMillan, Finzi, Delius, Bax, Bliss, Britten, Moeran and Kenneth Leighton. For the Walton Edition on Chandos, he recorded the Cello Concerto originally written for his master Piatigorsky. Raphael’s recording of Jewish repertoire by Bloch, Ravel and Caplet triggered extensive interest from the media as soon as it was released in January 2014, in time for Holocaust Memorial Day (27 Jan). His disc of Seiber, Dorati and Bartok cello concertos on the Nimbus Records label was released to critical acclaim in 2016.
Britain’s leading composers have worked closely with Raphael Wallfisch, often writing works for him. These include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, John Metcalf, Paul Patterson, Robert Simpson, Robert Saxton, Roger Smalley, Giles Swayne, John Tavener and Adrian Williams.
Raphael Wallfisch is a founding member of the Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch piano trio. His duo partner is the acclaimed pianist, John York with whom he has recorded and performed extensively with for over 30 years.
Raphael Wallfisch plays the 1865 Vuillaume “Sheremetev” and a 1760 Gennaro Gagliano.
This biography is valid until April 2018
“Mr. Wallfisch brought the house down with a tremendous display of considerable interpretive substance… The performance was a marvellous success.”
“… In Raphael Wallfisch’s hands it had a joyful charm and ease… the soloist’s multiple-string chords and rapid changes of register were negotiated effortlessly… Wallfisch’s tone was full and sweet. The rapid passagework was nimble but also had tuneful presence… He made light work of the virtuosities… his full vibrato and strong tone firmly established a mood of indulgent melancholy… Wallfisch was again untroubled by the technical demands made of the soloist …” (Haydn Cello Concerto in C | Rossini ”Une Larme” for Cello and Orchestra – Firebird Orchestra, Jonathan Bloxham, cond.)”
“Raphael Wallfisch has complete mastery of this passionate and personal work, pouring forth the Allegro’s gravitas with formidable insight. Melancholic symmetry suffused the central movement, memorably yielding to emotional catharsis.” (Finzi Cello Concerto with Bouremouth Symphony Orchestra)”
“Raphael’s gloriously rich, sonorous solo lines…”
“… Then came the Proms premiere, a mere 104 years after it was written, of Granville Bantock’s Sapphic Poem, for cello and orchestra. Laying out Bantock’s long, singing lines with little apparent effort, soloist Raphael Wallfisch enchanted his audience with the cello’s delightfully mournful tones.”
The Evening Standard
"Wallfisch and the sumptuously recorded Konzerthausorchester Berlin under Nicholas Milton remain firmly persuasive advocates of both concertos".
'Voices from the Wilderness' CD, BBC Music Magazine, February 2018
".. from the Kurt Weill-like song of its slow movement on the double-stopped cello to the swashbuckling spirit of the finale"
'Voices from the Wilderness' CD, Gramophone, February 2018